Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Crock-Pot Files: Beef Pot Roast

Yesterday was a long day for me, so I asked Mike to pick out one of the meals that I had prepared ahead and stuck in the freezer. He said it was very simple, just stuck it straight from the freezer to the Crock Pot and added some water. He also made white rice and a salad and ladeled the roast over the rice. In case you're dying to know, that's feta cheese on my salad. I love it, he hates it.

The verdict
Although a little watery, this was a great meal. Pretty much any meal I don't have to make is good! I would have preferred brown rice to boost the health rating of this meal, but hey, beggers can't be choosers! I wish I had come up with the idea of freezing half of all the Crock-Pot recipes I make, because it's great for nights like this one! I give this meal 3 stars for taste and health, and 5 stars to my hubby for making dinner. Gooooooo Mike!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Soft Chicken Tacos

I haven't tried this Soft Chicken Tacos recipe since July, but I came across it during a gleaning of the ol' recipe book and decided to make it again. I did something new this time in that instead of cooking a whole chicken at once, I put half in the crockpot and the other half in a freezer bag, then divided the sauce mixture between the two. The freezer bag went into the freezer, obviously. Lately I've been trying this with lots of my traditional recipes, instead of cooking way more than we need in one sitting and letting most of it go to waste. We also had a green salad with carrots, celery, and green onions.

The verdict
This recipe is always good, but we kept finding tiny chicken bones in our tacos. I think next time I'll make this with only the breast or thigh so we don't get as many bones. If I did it with thighs, it would be a cheap dinner. This recipe was a nice change from the usual. I give this meal 4 out of 5 stars for taste and health.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chicken Piccata

I tried a new recipe tonight, Chicken Piccata, which I picked because the recipe is similar to one of our favorites, Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce. The chicken is pounded thin, then browned with white wine and some other ingredients. We also had roasted red potatoes, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with a mixed drink of fresh-squeezed orange juice (thank you, Grandma B!), ginger ale, and citrus vodka.

The verdict
The chicken was very tender, but it needed something more. I suggested that next time I might try making a Dijon Cream Sauce like the tenderloin recipe and Mike was excited about that. I would also recommend serving it under a bed of angel-hair pasta, but since Mr. Picky doesn't like pasta, that option is out for us. This was a nice dinner, especially since we actually cleared off the table and had dinner the right way! I give this meal 3 out of 5 stars for taste and 4 stars for health.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Oreo Truffles

Although the new digital camera came too late to take a picture, I wanted to share with you this incredibly easy Oreo Truffle recipe I made over the weekend. I got rave reviews from everyone, and I definitely plan on making them again. Maybe next time I'll even have a picture to show you. In the meantime, you've GOT to try this recipe!
Chicken Tandoori

Good news, everyone, the blog drought has ended! Mike replaced the digital camera he lost, so I've had fun playing with my new toy. Tonight's dinner was chicken tandoori, which has been marinating since yesterday. Tandoori features plain yogurt and curry, along with other spices, usually paprika. I baked the chicken at 350 for an hour, then put it on top of a bed of brown rice. We were send home with a truckload of food from Mike's dad's investiture this weekend, and we've been munching on the veggies all day, so I switched up dinner with some fresh fruit.

The verdict
This is the second time I've made chicken tandoori, but the first time I've served it over rice. I think I'll be doing it this way from now on. In my opinion, brown rice needs something over it to make it interesting, and this definitely qualifies. I should have planned this out better, though, because I had Indian food on campus today, then again tonight. So much curry! My stomach is not used to this! I give this meal 4 out of 10 stars for taste and health.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

One Chicken: Three Meals!

I'd been letting a whole chicken defrost in the fridge for several days, and on Sunday I cut it in half and divided the chicken into two bags with potatoes, some chicken broth ice cubes, and onions. One bag went into the freezer for a later date (meal one) and one went in the fridge for Monday's dinner (meal two) and into the crock pot on Monday morning. I left out the spices so I could vary them the second time around. I must say that while I enjoyed the chicken and am glad to have a ready-to-go meal for later, I did NOT like having to cut up the chicken. Taking out the insides, throwing them away, then having the dog get into the trash and leave the parts scattered all over the place is not my idea of a good time. From now on, I plan on buying "country style" whole chickens that are cut up with all the gross stuff taken out.

On to meal three! After dinner last night I let the bones sit in some water until I had a yummy-smelling broth. Then I strained the broth, picked out the bones, and put the bowl of the crock pot (it comes out!) into the fridge. Today I stuck the soup back in the crock pot, and when I got home I made some whole-wheat noodles to finish off my soup. Mike had a migraine and didn't want to eat right away, so I scooped out what I wanted and threw some rice in the pot so it would be ready by the time he was (Mike doesn't eat pasta). Since it was just me, I decided to go simple and make a fruit salad. I had never tried whole-wheat pasta before, and in this setting I thought it was pretty good. I think I'll start using it in dishes like soup and lasagna, but stick to regular noodles for good ol' spaghetti. Mike is in the chair next to me snoring, so I think his dinner will be going in the fridge for tomorrow. I feel very thrifty getting three meals from one chicken, maybe four if I make another soup from the other chicken half. My mommy would be proud :)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rice and Bean Curry

Tonight I tried a concoction of my own. I've been influenced by the all the Indian food served by the Krishnas on campus! The summer before Mike and I got married, my roomate went to Thailand and brought me back some wonderful spices which I haven't used nearly enough, but I got my fill tonight. I started with 1/4 teaspoon each of curry and saffron, a pinch of safran (not sure how that differs from saffron!) a of milk and a tablespoon of flour. I let that sit while I warmed up some Great Northern Beans, made some white rice, and got the broccoli ready for steaming. Then I upped the curry by another quarter teaspoon and added a dash of chili powder, one dried chili pepper, and two more tablespoons of flour. When it was ready, I dished out my plate and told Mike (whose taste buds are stronger than mine) to add as much spice as he wanted to the rest of it.

The verdict
I discovered on the first bite that I did not remove all the piececs of dried chili pepper as I thought I had. I think that was the spiciest thing I have ever tasted! My taste buds were a little fried after that, but I still think I made a pretty good stab at curry. Mike said it wasn't spicy enough, but since I told him he could spice it up as much as he wanted, I can't take the blame for that. The last bit of flour I added really thickened it up fast, so next time I'll add a little less. This was a healthy, easy, cheap meal, which is always good in my book! I give this meal 3 and a half stars for taste and 5 stars for health.